The Bible – New Testament
1 In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught
until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.
He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days 2 and speaking about the kingdom of God.
While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for «the promise of the Father 3 about which you have heard me speak;
for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.»
When they had gathered together they asked him, «Lord, are you at this time going 4 to restore the kingdom to Israel?»
5 He answered them, «It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority.
6 But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.»
When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.
While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them.
They said, «Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.»
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.
When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
During those days Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (there was a group of about one hundred and twenty persons in the one place). He said,
«My brothers, the scripture had to be fulfilled which the holy Spirit spoke beforehand through the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus.
He was numbered among us and was allotted a share in this ministry.
He bought a parcel of land with the wages of his iniquity, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle, and all his insides spilled out. 7
This became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem, so that the parcel of land was called in their language ‘Akeldama,’ that is, Field of Blood.
For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his encampment become desolate, and may no one dwell in it.’ And: ‘May another take his office.’
Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us,
beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.»
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias.
Then they prayed, «You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen
to take the place in this apostolic ministry from which Judas turned away to go to his own place.»
8 Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles.
1 [1-26] This introductory material (⇒ Acts 1:1-2) connects Acts with the Gospel of Luke, shows that the apostles were instructed by the risen Jesus (⇒ Acts 1:3-5), points out that the parousia or second coming in glory of Jesus will occur as certainly as his ascension occurred (⇒ Acts 1:6-11), and lists the members of the Twelve, stressing their role as a body of divinely mandated witnesses to his life, teaching, and resurrection (⇒ Acts 1:12-26).
2  Appearing to them during forty days: Luke considered especially sacred the interval in which the appearances and instructions of the risen Jesus occurred and expressed it therefore in terms of the sacred number forty (cf ⇒ Deut 8:2). In his gospel, however, Luke connects the ascension of Jesus with the resurrection by describing the ascension on Easter Sunday evening (⇒ Luke 24:50-53). What should probably be understood as one event (resurrection, glorification, ascension, sending of the Spirit – the paschal mystery) has been historicized by Luke when he writes of a visible ascension of Jesus after forty days and the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost. For Luke, the ascension marks the end of the appearances of Jesus except for the extraordinary appearance to Paul. With regard to Luke’s understanding of salvation history, the ascension also marks the end of the time of Jesus (⇒ Luke 24:50-53) and signals the beginning of the time of the church.
3  The promise of the Father: the holy Spirit, as is clear from the next verse. This gift of the Spirit was first promised in Jesus’ final instructions to his chosen witnesses in Luke’s gospel (⇒ Luke 24:49) and formed part of the continuing instructions of the risen Jesus on the kingdom of God, of which Luke speaks in ⇒ Acts 1:3.
4  The question of the disciples implies that in believing Jesus to be the Christ (see the note on ⇒ Luke 2:11) they had expected him to be a political leader who would restore self-rule to Israel during his historical ministry. When this had not taken place, they ask if it is to take place at this time, the period of the church.
5  This verse echoes the tradition that the precise time of the parousia is not revealed to human beings; cf ⇒ Mark 13:32; ⇒ 1 Thes 5:1-3.
6  Just as Jerusalem was the city of destiny in the Gospel of Luke (the place where salvation was accomplished), so here at the beginning of Acts, Jerusalem occupies a central position. It is the starting point for the mission of the Christian disciples to «the ends of the earth,» the place where the apostles were situated and the doctrinal focal point in the early days of the community (⇒ Acts 15:2, 6). The ends of the earth: for Luke, this means Rome.
7  Luke records a popular tradition about the death of Judas that differs from the one in ⇒ Matthew 27:5, according to which Judas hanged himself. Here, although the text is not certain, Judas is depicted as purchasing a piece of property with the betrayal money and being killed on it in a fall.
8  The need to replace Judas was probably dictated by the symbolism of the number twelve, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolism also indicates that for Luke (see ⇒ Luke 22:30) the Christian church is a reconstituted Israel.